Preview: Sounders, Galaxy meet in Western Conference clash
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs LA GALAXY
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
August 5, 2012 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #213)
6 p.m. PT (ESPN2/Deportes; GolTV)
A massive match for positioning in the Western Conference is ahead on Sunday evening when Seattle Sounders FC and the LA Galaxy meet at CenturyLink Field and before an ESPN2 audience. The teams are separated by just a single point in the West, holding two of the final three playoff positions in the division. Sounders FC are now on a five-game unbeaten run, after a 2-1 win in Colorado last weekend, while the Galaxy have gone five games without loss after a 1-0 victory at FC Dallas last weekend.
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REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Jesus Cisneros
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 21.8; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 6; pens: 10
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture) …
- LA GALAXY – OUT: FW Edson Buddle (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); QUESTIONABLE: DF Andrew Boyens (L sports hernia surgery); DF Todd Dunivant (R calf hematoma); DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); MF Dan Keat (R knee surgery); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: SEA: Eddie Johnson, Andy Rose … LA: David Junior Lopes
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Fredy Montero, Zach Scott, Marc Burch … LA: David Beckham
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Galaxy 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 2
AT SEATTLE (4 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals … Galaxy 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
FUTURE MATCH: 10/28: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 6 p.m. PT (ESPN/Deportes)
- The teams are meeting for the second time this year. Sounders FC took a 2-0 win May 2 at CenturyLink Field behind goals from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero.
- It was Sounders FC’s first win vs. the Galaxy in five all-time meetings at CenturyLink Field (regular-season and playoffs). The Galaxy had won their last three visits to play Seattle; the opening goal in the first meeting snapped a 345-minute home goalless streak vs. LA for Seattle.
- It was the first victory for Sounders FC vs. the Galaxy since the 2009 season. The Galaxy had won five MLS meetings in a row, including both legs of a Western Conference Semifinal Series in 2010, before the teams played to a scoreless draw last July 4 in Carson.
- Seattle has knocked the Galaxy out of the U.S. Open Cup each of the last two years, winning quarterfinals matches each year at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. LA: P13 W5 L4 D4 … Bruce Arena vs. SEA: P7 W3 L2 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/2: SEA 2, LA 0 (Johnson 40; Montero 48)
- Sounders FC hit for both goals on either side of halftime. In the 40th minute, Mauro Rosales sent in a cross from the right wing and Eddie Johnson found some space between a pair of defenders, striking a snap header from the penalty spot past Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
- The real highlight of the evening came in the 48th minute. After receiving the ball in midfield and striding forward, Fredy Montero stepped into a fierce drive from all of 35 yards out that sailed into the upper right corner.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning (Bryan Meredith 46) - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 74), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, David Estrada - Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey 81).
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Bill Gaudette - Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan 71), David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Brian Gaul - Sean Franklin, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan - Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 58), Adam Cristman (Edson Buddle 53).
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC extended their undefeated streak to five games, defeating the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Sounders FC are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 21 games.
- The Rapids were in front after just 80 seconds, as an unmarked Eddie Johnson rose above the crowd to nod a cross past Matt Pickens.
- But less than two minutes later, the Rapids had their reply. Martín Rivero’s through ball along the right wing found Brian Mullan, who crossed to an open Drew Moor, and the Rapids captain had to simply tap home the perfect pass at the back post.
- In the 65th minute, Johnson’s inch-perfect cross found an unmarked Osvaldo Alonso running into the box, and the Cuban midfielder one-timed a volley into the corner for a sensational decisive tally.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that reached a 2-2 draw at the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Michael Gspurning came in between the posts for Bryan Meredith, Leo Gonzalez started in the back four for Marc Burch, and Alex Caskey and Fredy Montero came into the team for Andy Rose and the departed Alvaro Fernandez.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez - Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Marc Burch 83), Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Andy Rose 80) - Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero (Zach Scott 88).
WATCH: Sounders preview LA
- The victory was the second in three games for Sounders FC, who have not lost now since a 2-1 reversal at Portland on June 24.
- Eddie Johnson scored his second goal in the last three games, and for a fifth time in the last six matches. Three of his last four goals have come from Mauro Rosales assists; Rosales has assists on five of Johnson’s nine goals this season.
- “We always create chances, this team,” Johnson said. “Me being new to the team, I’m still trying to find my way within the team. I’ve built a relationship with Rosales. I’m still learning how to play with this team and this team is still getting used to playing with me.”
- Rosales has five assists in the last seven games, coming on half of Seattle’s goals in that time. “[Johnson] and Fredy [Montero have] found some goals in a couple of other games, and he’ll find goals again. I was pleased with that,” Schmid said.
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning made his first appearance since he was forced off at halftime of the May 2 meeting with the LA Galaxy, when he suffered a hip injury.
- “We’ve certainly missed him, not to take anything away from the goalkeepers that played while he was gone,” Schmid said. “He’s a guy who has a calming influence on the backs for us, he’s got good experience. He is able to deal with crosses with his size, and punch things clear. Having him back in there for us gives everyone a little more confidence because they know the quality he has.”
- Sounders FC have added midfielder Christian Siffert as a Designated Player. Last with 1. FC Kaiserslautern of the German Bundesliga and with more than 280 appearances in Germany's top flight, Tiffert has 12 years of top level experience in Germany and Austria, and the attacking midfielder led the German Bundesliga with 17 assists in the 2010-11 season.
- “He adds that vision, that ability to cross balls,” Schmid said. “Our big thing where we want to get better is to maintain possession in the opponent’s end of the field and keep pressure on the opponent. Obviously, if we can get a little better at making those final passes it makes us more dangerous.”
- Sounders FC also added Honduras Olympic team midfielder Mario Martinez on loan from Real España in his native country. Martinez has experience in Europe with Valerenga (Norway) and Anderlecht (Belgium).
- On Thursday, Sounders FC got their CONCACAF Champions League group stage campaign started off on the right foot, with a 3-1 win against Trinidad & Tobago’s Caledonia AIA at CenturyLink Field. Sammy Ochoa (19), Fredy Montero (30) and Andy Rose (42) netted first-half goals for Seattle; Rose set up the first two goals.
- Here’s the Sounders FC team: Andrew Weber, Brad Evans, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Cordell Cato, Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 46), Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Leo Gonzalez 75), Fredy Montero (Adam Johansson 90+3), Sammy Ochoa.
The LA Galaxy stretched their undefeated streak to five games, returning to the road in a 1-0 win against FC Dallas on Saturday evening in Frisco. The Galaxy are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 22 games.
- The game's lone goal came in the 62nd minute. Robbie Keane controlled a bouncing ball at the top of the box and flicked it over a defender to Mike Magee. The Galaxy attacker was left alone in the restraining arc, and he curled a shot around a defender and into the lower corner.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that defeated Chivas USA 3-1 at The Home Depot Center. Omar Gonzalez and Mike Magee came back into the side, in place of David Beckham and the suspended Landon Donovan.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, David Junior Lopes, Bryan Gaul - Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Hector Jimenez (Michael Stephens 78) - Mike Magee (Jose Villarreal 69), Robbie Keane.
WATCH: Galaxy top FC Dallas
- The Galaxy extended their unbeaten run to five games, their longest of the season, and have won seven times in the last 10 league games, since June 17.
- It was a good result for our team,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We’ve played awfully well over the last month, so we’re getting ourselves in good shape, making good progress.”
- In the eight games since returning from Euro 2012 with Ireland, Robbie Keane now has six goals and four assists, after collecting the assist on the game’s lone goal at FC Dallas. He has a goal or assist in six of the eight games.
- Keane still figured on the scoresheet in the absence of Landon Donovan and David Beckham, neither of whom figured at FC Dallas, Donovan through suspension and Beckham away for personal matters.
- “Issues we deal with all the time, so it’s not an excuse. [FC Dallas] played the LA Galaxy tonight, so that’s whatever 11 shirts are on the field. It’s the Galaxy and you always miss players, so that’s all part of the challenge,” said Arena.
- Over the last 10 games, the Galaxy’s Designated Player trio of Donovan, Beckham and Keane have still combined for 17 goals and 14 assists.
- “Obviously missing [David] Beckham and Landon [Donovan] always makes it difficult and then coming into this heat on the road,” said Mike Magee. “You know it shows a lot and speaks volumes about the kind of team we’ve turned into the
- Center back Omar Gonzalez made his second start of the season and his first 90-minute performance, his first start since July 4. Gonzalez was forced to undergo offseason knee surgery.
- “I didn’t think I’d come back after the first half because it was so hot and I had cotton mouth the whole time, but I’m happy I did get through it,” Gonzalez said. “I know I was fit enough to get through it and we’d already made two subs. I knew that I was going to have to push through it and I’m happy to get through it for the team, I’m happy to get the three points and happy to get the shutout.”
- Said Arena: “Remarkable. We thought he wouldn’t quite make it to 90 minutes, so it was a good week for him. From 65 minutes from him Tuesday against Tottenham [Hotspur] and 90 minutes tonight, so he’s well on the road to recovery.”
- With Todd Dunivant still sidelined with a calf injury, Bryan Gaul made his second consecutive start at left back.
- “It’s a good effort. [Bryan] Gaul had another good game and A.J. DeLaGarza continues to play well in midfield. [Sean] Franklin played well at right midfield and [Robbie] Keane’s leadership was critically important for us,” said Arena.
- On Thursday, the Galaxy lost a 5-1 decision to Real Madrid in a friendly as part of the World Football Challenge at The Home Depot Center. Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel Di María, José Callejón, Morata and Jesé scored for Real; the lone Galaxy came from defender David Junior Lopes.
- Here’s the Galaxy team: Josh Saunders (Brian Perk 46) -- Omar González (Andrew Boyens 46), Bryan Gaul (Bryan Jordan 46), Sean Franklin (Tommy Meyer 46), A.J. DeLaGarza (Kenney Walker 46), David Junior Lopes (Rafael Garcia 46), Marcelo Sarvas (Jose Villarreal 46), Juninho (Héctor Jiménez 46), David Beckham (Michael Stephens 46), Landon Donovan (Pat Noonan 46 / Jack McBean 79), Robbie Keane (Mike Magee 46)